Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal: Reds fail to trouble 10-man Arsenal
Mikel Arteta congratulates his players after Arsenal's 0-0 draw at Anfield (PHOTO: Michael Regan/GETTY Images) 

10-man Arsenal held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield.

  • Story of the game

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The Gunners were resolute after Granit Xhaka was dismissed in the 24th minute for a high foot as Diogo Jota ran through on goal. 

The Reds had made a commanding start to the semi-final clash, with 72% possession and four corners in the first 15 minutes.

After the red card, the home side would ruthlessly maintain their control and reduce the Gunners to counter attacks, with Joel Matip enjoying dribbling through the Arsenal midfield at will.  

However, they couldn't break down the stubborn resistance and the sides went in level at the interval.

After the restart, Takumi Minamino, looking to become only the fifth player to score in four successive league cup games for the Reds was their most dangerous player.

His 47th minute cross had Aaron Ramsdale back-peddling as it nearly sailed into the far corner. Then, with 20 minutes to go, he was released by Andy Robertson but failed to test the former Sheffield United stopper. 

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Bukayo Saka was Arsenal's biggest threat after the break, Matip forced to block his 49th minute shot after Virgil Van Dijk was caught out of position and Alisson denied him with a stunning save after Kieran Tierney found him in acres of space in the 73rd minute. 

The Gunners were dealt a cruel blow when he was forced to leave the field in the 80th minute through injury.

Liverpool pushed desperately to break down the resolute Arsenal defence and Jurgen Klopp brought Curtis Jones on for James Milner to add some creativity to the midfield. 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Fabinho and Neco Williams replaced Trent Alexander-Arnold, who had recently recovered from COVID-19, as the home team desperately sought a winner.

Oxlade-Chamberlain blasted a dire effort over the crossbar in the 81st minute, then Jota couldn't react quick enough to Jones' cross as the Reds pushed in the 84th minute. 

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The resistance was nearly broken at the death as Minamino smashed an 89th minute chance into the Kop after Ramsdale had misjudged a Neco Williams cross.

A few late scrambles in the Arsenal penalty area, led to nothing and it is all square heading into the second leg at The Emirates. 

  • Reds struggle without Salah and Mané 

Liverpool had 77% possession and eight shots but failed to register a shot on target. It was clear that they felt the effects of missing African duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané.

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The general consensus is the Egyptian has been the best player in the Premier League this season, scoring 16 and assisting nine, and tonight's performance only served to emphasise why the Reds must give his a new contract despite his apparent lofty demands. 

Mané has also been a key contributor to the Reds' attack, he has eight goals this season in the league, and has looked like he has finally recovered from the long COVID he was suffering from last season. 

Klopp's side clearly struggled to break down their opponents without his AFCON superstars, and he will hope to have them back as soon as possible. 

  • Arsenal stifle Reds despite having 10-men for 65 minutes

Arsenal's defence has received a lot of criticism recently, however, they were resolute and limited Liverpool to half-chances and threatened on the counter. 

To get a draw at Anfield, being a man down for 65 minutes, is an extremely impressive result. However, considering they were without Martin Odegaard (COVID), Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu (Injured), it is even more spectacular. 

They might have failed to trouble Alisson on his Carabao Cup debit but the Gunners will be confident that they can progress to the final with the second leg at The Emirates. 

  • Man of the Match

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Several Arsenal players were candidates for Man of the Match but Ben White was the standout. The 24 year-old made three interceptions, three blocks and five clearances as the Reds bombarded the Arsenal box. 

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